C2ER Blog

C2ER 2016 – 2017 Board Announcement


Deidre Myers Begins Term as Chair of the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER)

Arlington VA – Deidre Myers, Principal of the Myers Group, LLC, was elected chair of the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for a term beginning July 2016 through June 2017.

Myers is the co-owner and principal of The Myers Group, LLC which provides professional consulting services to industry, non-profit and public organizations. She specializes in economic, community and workforce analysis.

Deidre Myers previously served as the Deputy Secretary of Workforce Development, heading the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development. The Office managed and administered the Department of Labor WIOA funds for the state of Oklahoma, advised and supported the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development, and led numerous statewide initiatives to grow and upskill the state’s workforce. Myers also managed state economic and community development programs; directed a national project for the Corporation for National and Community Service; administered the state of Massachusetts AmeriCorps program; and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon.

Myers is a certified community researcher and completed her undergraduate studies in History, Religion and French at Oklahoma State University and her graduate work at the University of Oklahoma in Economics and Public Policy.


Other C2ER officers for 2016 – 2017 include:


George Harben, Director of Existing Business, Prince William County Department of Economic Development, Manassas, VA

Vice Chair

Jennifer Zeller, Manager, Research, Engineering and Creative Services, Georgia Power Community and Economic Development, Atlanta, GA


Alan Spell, Economic & Workforce Research Manager, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Jefferson City, MO

Immediate Past Chair

Drew Conrad, Director, Institute for Decision Making, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA


Newly Elected C2ER board members whose terms expire in 2019 include:

Bob Ball, Economist/ Director of Research, Tulsa Regional Chamber, Tulsa, OK

 Denise Hanna, Market Research Manager, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Little Rock, AR

Jason Palmer, Director, Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives, Detroit, MI

Carol Rogers, Deputy Director + CIO, Indiana Business Research Center, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN


C2ER was created in 1961 as a membership organization to promote excellence in community and economic research by working to improve data availability, enhance data quality, and foster learning about regional economic analytic methods. The organization is highly regarded for its research, professional training, networking, and advocacy on behalf of public statistics



Puerto Rico Featured in Quarter 1, 2016 Cost of Living Index

The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) is happy to announce the release of the Quarter 1, 2016 Cost of Living Index (COLI) publication. This is the first publication to feature San Juan, Puerto Rico in the official publication. 2016 marks the second year San Juan has participated in COLI’s data collection process. Grocery and utility prices appear to be the highest in the city, almost 30 and 70 percent above the U.S. national average, respectively. The Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics has assumed the responsibility of collecting the data.

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Getting “Within WIOA” at the C2ER Conference and LMI Institute Forum

Akin to the spirit of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the 2016 C2ER Annual Conference and LMI Institute Forum bring together economic and workforce development practitioners to enable the development of data- and job-driven strategies that foster local and regional economic growth. At the Conference and Forum, you will have many opportunities to learn from peers from across the country about their experiences, lessons, and successes related to WIOA implementation.

Sector Strategies

WIOA requires states to develop, convene, or implement sector strategies. Collecting and analyzing relevant and reliable labor market and workforce information ensures that sector strategies are aligned with local needs for in-demand sectors and occupations. The “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – Part I: Targeting Industries” session will explore employer-driven partnerships between industry, educators, and other actors to address urgent workforce needs. This session will be moderated by Stephanie McGarrah, a Senior Strategy Consultant for the UNC Health Care System, and will feature Deidre Myers, President of The Myers Group, LLC, and Hillary Huffer, Labor Market Information Manager for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation.

In-Demand Occupations and Skills

Identifying in-demand occupations is at the foundation of WIOA, but pinpointing the skills required for those occupations is also of utmost importance to a dynamic and high-functioning workforce system. The “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – Part II: Matching Skills and Jobs” session will examine both the demand and supply sides of this challenge by analyzing the perceived skills gap and reviewing research tips and techniques to determine whether industries truly have the skills they need. This session will be moderated by Lesley Hirsh, Director of the NYC Labor Market Information Service at the CUNY Graduate Center, Center for Urban Research, and will include experiences from Nebraska and Utah’s LMI offices.

Labor Market Information (LMI) and Program Evaluation

Another important aspect of WIOA is that it makes significant new demands for labor market information and economic evaluation, and therefore creates opportunities for researchers of all stripes to develop and extend capacities to support the public workforce system. During the “Data Tools Roundtable” session, you can engage in a dialogue to learn more about research needs and resources, as well as to brainstorm “entrepreneurial opportunities” for your organization to help provide data and analysis to local and state workforce boards. This session will be moderated by Adrienne Johnston, Director of the Bureau of Labor Market Statistics for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and will feature Steve Hine, Research Director for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

This year’s C2ER Annual Conference and LMI Institute Forum focus on the global impact of regional partnerships, and managers from around the U.S. will gather to discuss topics facing industries, the economy, and the talent pool. We will take time during trainings to show trends in data-visualization software and discuss best practices. We invite you to visit the conference site and view the preliminary agenda to learn more.

Video: Applied Data Visualization and Moving from Theory into Practice

One of the best ways to better interpret data, make decisions, and get your message across is to use a visualization that quickly draws attention to sometimes surprising patterns and observations that are not always apparent.

Data visualization, a wide term that applies to visual representations that attempt to help viewers better understand data, can be used to help broader audiences understand and digest complicated data.

This year’s Council for Community and Economic Research Conference (C2ER) and LMI Institute Forum is focused on the global impact of regional partnerships, and managers from around the U.S. will gather to discuss topics facing industries, the economy, and the talent pool. We will take time during trainings to show trends in data-visualization software and discuss best practices. We invite you to visit our event site and view the preliminary agenda to learn more.

Managers to Merge in Minneapolis: Who You’ll See at the 2016 C2ER Conference

This year’s Council for Community and Economic Research Conference (C2ER) and LMI Institute Forum is focused on the global impact of regional partnerships, and managers from around the U.S. will gather to discuss topics facing industries, the economy, and the talent pool.

The conference takes place June 6-10 in Minneapolis. Classes, presentations, and breakout sessions are designed to guide state, national, and regional-level managers that want to be better enabled to make positive impacts both at home and abroad. Frequently, the people we work with and speak come from organizations that either provide strategic international partnerships or are growing their own understanding about globalization’s regional affects on their daily business.

The fundamental reality is that promoting an active global perspective among labor-supply specialists, economic developers, and researchers is essential to developing sustainable regional partnerships. Globally focused relationships and mindsets give leaders the foundations needed for international collaboration that addresses the greatest challenges in producing jobs and improving workforce quality.

C2ER and the LMI Institute, Leaders in the Field:

For 56 years, C2ER and the LMI Institute have brought together chamber leaders, administrators at government agencies and universities, data and labor-market experts, administrators at economic-development and utility firms, and consulting directors. Economic researchers and labor market specialists have added value to their state and municipal agencies after attending the event. We invite you to visit our event site and view the preliminary agenda to learn more.

Addressing the Skills Gap Starts in Your Own Office

NP Employees

A survey from the Chronicle of Higher Education shows that government and nonprofit employers have a more-difficult time with recent-graduate hires. Most of the issues cited involve “soft skills.”

Of the 700 employers in the survey who offered feedback on specific troubles they experienced with recent grads, most mentioned communication and critical thinking. Specifically, the employers stated that they often find candidates who cannot put ideas forward, support those concepts, and build upon them. “Soft skills” don’t just stop with communication and critical thinking. They include collaboration and respect for diversity. All too often, these people skills are becoming the value-add for new hires.

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State of State Business Incentives 2015

C2ER recently completed its annual update of the State Business Incentives Database. As part of the database review process, C2ER researched every U.S. state and territory to ascertain information on what programs have been created, repealed or altered during each state’s most recent legislative sessions. Based on this research, combined with extensive outreach to representatives in every state and territory, the Database now reflects the present status of the more than 1,900 state business incentives in operation around the country.

The State of State Business Incentives 2015 report summarizes the findings from this review. Most striking is the overall growth in the number of state business incentive programs. Since the new millennium, the overall number of state incentive programs targeted to businesses has more than doubled, from less than one thousand in 1999 to nearly two thousand today. The report takes a closer look at the different types and purposes of business incentive programs administered by states and how state incentive portfolios have changed over the past few years in response to recent economic trends, with notable examples of recent state incentive activity.

Advocate for Important Data Programs

Congress and the Administration have reached a budget deal for FY2016 (and FY2017) that will increase the overall spending limit for non-defense discretionary programs by $25 billion for the fiscal year that started October 1st. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees must now revise the 12 annual funding bills, and Congress must enact them, before the temporary spending bill (Continuing Resolution) expires on December 11th.

This is an opportunity for  members to advocate to the House and Senate subcommittees in charge of funding for the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Bureau of Economic Analysis. The new budget framework provides additional resources for the appropriate committees in charge of these vital data programs (Commerce, State, Justice or equivalent in the House/Senate and Housing Education Labor Pensions or equivalent in the House/Senate). The Census Project is currently circulating a letter advocating for full ACS funding. Now would be a good time for your Senator or Congressman to hear about the importance of Census, BLS, and BEA funding.

Cost of Living Index Quarter 3, 2015 Media Release


C2ER released the Cost of Living Index (COLI) third quarter report for 2015 in late October. Among the 265 urban areas that participated in the 2015 third quarter Cost of Living Index, the after-tax cost for a professional/managerial standard of living ranged from more than twice the national average in New York (Manhattan), NY to almost 20 percent below the national average in McAllen, TX.

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WIC Skills Initiative Summary Report Release

The Labor Market Information (LMI) Institute is excited to release the Workforce Information Council’s (WIC) Skills Initiative Summary Report. This report is the culminating piece of the WIC Skills Initiative, a study group created to engage federal representatives, state labor market information (LMI) directors, and other stakeholders from public policy and higher education in a dialogue around skills. The Initiative’s ultimate goal is to provide a baseline understanding of how various stakeholders perceive the concept of “skills,” and to identify and disseminate best practices in the provision of skills data. A more comprehensive understanding of skills data is especially important given recent legislation in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which calls for data-driven decision-making around the development of skills and workplace readiness.

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